One of the main obstacles in the way of a practical quantum computer has been cracked. Researchers were able to create quantum bits (qubits) and store information on them for nearly two seconds, at room temperature.
A group of Harvard scientists, led by Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and including graduate students Georg Kucsko and Peter Maurer and postdoctoral researcher Christian Latta, say they have cracked the code regarding the cooling of quantum computers.
And they did it by turning to one of the purest materials on Earth: diamonds.
Using a pair of impurities in ultra-pure, laboratory-grown diamonds, the researchers announced earlier this week that preliminary results reveal the ability to create quantum bits and store information in them for nearly two seconds — an increase of nearly six magnitudes, say the scientists. The work, described in the June 8 issue of Science, is a critical first step in the eventual construction of a functional quantum computer that could one day allow for advanced computations.
The research is the latest step towards creating quantum computers. A practical quantum computer with enough qubits available could complete in minutes calculations that would take ultrafast super-computers years, and your laptop perhaps millions of years to process. Such computers will harness the powers of atoms and sub-atomic particles (ions, photons, electrons) to perform memory and processing tasks, thanks to the strange sub-atomic properties of quantum mechanics, say scientists.